Country Prep School Cheam’s new headmaster Will Phelps talks to Luxe in the Country about his vision for Cheam, tips on looking for a prep school and his favourite school lunch…
Which 3 things should a parent keep in mind when looking for a prep school?
There is so much to absorb when visiting schools, my first recommendation is to visit several times; open days and individual tours provide different opportunities. Seeing the school on a ‘normal day’ will provide valuable insights into the culture and atmosphere, what does the school look and feel like, can you imagine your child in that setting? What are the interactions like between staff and children? To this end, what you hope to see is a happy community; happy children learn and thrive, and happy teachers are motivated and deliver the best education to the children. Second to that, how much care and attention to detail is there? Is the school loved? Is it clean, well maintained and invested in.
What modern issues do head teachers face currently?
The mental health of children has become an increasing concern for parents and educators post pandemic. We are fortunate at Cheam to have an incredible Learning Development team with specialists onsite who can provide CBT therapy, occupational therapy and counselling in addition to their emotional and academic support lessons for children with additional learning needs. We are also investing in a new facility, ‘The Nest’ which will be our well-being hub, a place for children to come for additional support or just to have a space to be and to re-charge.
What do you love most about being a headmaster?
Being in and leading a community matter enormously. It is a privilege to have an influence on the lives of so many young children and to enable them to develop on their journey through Cheam. What also matters to me is growing teams of staff who are effective, engaged and who enjoy their work. Creating school leaders of the future is another important piece of the puzzle that is headship.
Your vision for Cheam?
My vision for Cheam is to be the best co-ed prep school in the country. Cheam is an extraordinary school, it offers what I can only describe as a ‘complete education’, by this I mean two things. The first is that every possible opportunity is available to children through the broad curricular, co-curricular, extended day programme, boarding opportunities and the outstanding grounds and facilities. Second, complete in the experience for every child; mind, body and spirit. We nurture the whole child. Our pastoral care systems are such that welfare and well-being are the bedrock of life at Cheam.
What makes a Cheam pupil stand out?
While we cannot or ever should be able to define a Cheam child, there are qualities that many possess. When our children graduate in Year 8 they are individuals who know themselves, are kind, emotionally intelligent, team players, potential leaders, resilient and with an inner confidence. Cheam pupils to that end may or may not stand out, they might just be of a quieter nature, or they might be at ease in the limelight. We are a broad church and our pupils reflect this.
Learning Beyond the City Cheam Receptions Drinks 5th October 2022 Savil Club London
Open Morning 14th October 2022 Cheam School